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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Appeals Court: Ohio Voters Must Show Up To Their Assigned Polling Location- Liberals Howl

By Susan Duclos

It never ceases to amaze me how the far left will spin information in the hopes that those watching or reading will simply believe their interpretation of events rather than reading the data themselves.

So, lets start with the liberal spin of a recent Appeals court ruling from Think Progress, who headlines with "BREAKING: Three Bush-Appointed Judges Give Thumbs Up To Voter Disenfranchisement In Ohio."

Late last week, a federal district court ordered Ohio to stop disenfranchising voters who are directed to vote at the wrong polling place due to poll worker error. Earlier today, a severely conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stayed this order, ruling that Ohio may disenfranchise these voters — even when their error is due to false instructions from a poll worker — because they believed allowing these votes to be counted would “absolve[] voters of all responsibility for voting in the correct precinct.” The panel included Judges Julia Smith Gibbons and Deborah Cook, both George W. Bush appointees, and Judge Lee Rosenthal, a George H.W. Bush appointee.
Other liberals are howling the same claim of disenfranchisement.

The actual order will be embedded below so everyone can read the entire 7 pages for themselves.

For the sake of understanding, the two issues described are right place/wrong precinct and wrong place/wrong precinct.

Right place/wrong precinct is when voters determine where they should go but multiple precincts are allowed to vote at that location.

Wrong place/wrong precinct is where voters show up at the wrong location to begin with.

Here is what both Think Progress and FireDogLake isn't reminding their readers of.

The issue before the court, Page two:

We recently affirmed a preliminary injunction entered by the district court on August 27, 2012, directing Ohio and the Secretary to count right-place/wrong-precinct provisional ballots caused by poll-worker error in the upcoming election. See Ne. Ohio Coal. for the Homeless v. Husted, --- F.3d ----, 2012 WL 4829033 (6th Cir. Oct. 11, 2012) [hereinafter NEOCH]. In that opinion, we noted that the August 27 order did not require the counting of wrong-place/wrong-precinct ballots. Id. at *6–8. But we expressed no view on whether the refusal to count such ballots imposed an unconstitutional burden on voters, leaving the question open for possible future litigation. Id. at *7 n.6. On October 17, the plaintiffs filed a renewed motion for a preliminary injunction in the district court that would mandate the counting of wrong place/ wrong-precinct ballots, reiterating a request made in their original June 22, 2012 motion for a preliminary injunction but not included in the August 27 order. The district court granted the renewed motion after a hearing. Ohio and the Secretary unsuccessfully moved for a stay of the preliminary injunction during the hearing, prompting this emergency appeal.

So, the court had already affirmed that if a voter showed up to the correct polling location, but was directed to the wrong precinct within that location, the votes would be counted.

That wasn't enough though, the plaintiffs filed a renewed motion attempting to force Ohio to also count votes cast at the wrong location and wrong precinct.
The district court agreed and the Appeals Court just found the district court "abused its discretion by failing to distinguish" burdens.
From page four of the Appeals Court order, the panel shows they believe there is sufficient notification to voters and access to the same information and voters do have some responsibility to use that information to determine at least the right location to show up to to vote.

Though voters must rely heavily on poll workers to direct them to the proper precinct in a multi-precinct voting place, they are not as dependent on poll workers to identify their correct polling place. Ohio law requires election officials to provide notice to voters of where they are eligible to vote after they register or if their precinct changes. See Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3503.16(E) (change in address of voter); id. § 3503.17 (change in precinct boundaries); id. § 3503.19(C)(1) (new voters). Furthermore, information about where to vote is easily accessible by calling county boards of elections or accessing the Secretary’s webpage. See, e.g., “Find Your Polling Location,” Ohio Sec’y of State, In our view, a voter who fails to utilize these tools and arrives at the wrong polling location cannot be said to be blameless in the same way as a right-place/wrong-precinct voter. And the district court’s findings of thousands of rejected wrong-precinct ballots overstates the sparse evidence of poll workers sending voters to the wrong polling location. (R. 90, Op. & Order at 10 n.3, PageID #6233; see also SEIU Appellees’ Resp. Br. at 14.)
Polls workers should be able to point voters in the right precinct voting place within the correct polling location but are not responsible for determining the correct location to begin with.

That is the responsibility of the voter, as it should be.

The plaintiffs had their injunction, it was affirmed, they attempted to expand it as the Appeals Court ruling makes very clear for anybody that actually reads it instead of depending on "spin."

Pages four and five:

Moreover, the district court’s injunction, in disregarding the importance of voting place, has a significant effect on the State’s legitimate interest in maintaining its precinct-based voting system. Unlike the prior injunction, the expanded injunction opens the door for steering last-second voters to convenient (though incorrect) polling places, in the hopes that some of the votes will count. This perverse incentive did not exist with right-place/wrong-precinct voters; voters who make the effort to arrive at the correct polling place would have no reason to miscast their vote at the wrong table or in the wrong line. And even if shorter precinct lines presented such an incentive for a handful of those voters, the district court’s August 27 preliminary injunction requires poll-workers to inform voters that a miscast vote would not count.

That isn't disenfranchisement as Think Progress headlines, that is requiring voters to do their due diligence in determining the correct location.

[Update] An additional thought here, don't believe me, don't believe Think Progress or FireDogLake, read the order yourself. Always attempt to find the original data or links to it rather than allowing our interpretations to become yours.

Ruling embedded below.

Appeals Ruling Ohio Wrong Place Wrong Precinct